Chapter 3: Symptoms and health concerns

Dehydration – What is it and what may cause it

Dehydration happens when someone loses too much water from the body, doesn't get enough fluids in, or both. The most common causes for dehydration are diarrhea and vomiting. Medications such as diuretics, or water pills, can also contribute to a person becoming dehydrated.

Dehydration in advancing illness

Dehydration is often a normal part of the changes that happen at the end of a serious illness. People become weak and take in less fluid. This may continue over for days or weeks and is part of the dying process.

Keeping track

Be sure to note any changes in fluid or food intake and any other concerns in the tracking journal. This will help to share information with the healthcare provider.

Click here to see the questions the healthcare provider may ask. You might use these questions to guide the tracking journal.